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Pope’s December prayer: Change of mentality regarding differently abled

A girl with down syndrome kisses Pope Francis

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 11/29/23

The Pope's prayer intention this month is that people with disabilities might have all the support they need, and that everyone might have a heart open to accompanying.
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Pope Francis is inviting the faithful to pray in this month of December for a change of mentality regarding people with disabilities.

The monthly intention, illustrated by The Pope Video and organized through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, focuses on those with disabilities, who are “among the most fragile among us.”

This prayer intention coincides with the month in which the UN established the International Day of People with Disabilities (December 3) with the objective of promoting their rights and well-being.

Pope Francis insists on the concept of “differently abled” to underline the huge contribution that their full inclusion and appreciation can bring to society.

The video brings scenes of athletes who successfully challenge their own limitations in various international competitions, to friends of the Community of Sant’Egidio painting works of art or serving tables in a restaurant. Others show a Jesuit theologian in Australia who has a visual disability, another, a nun with Down Syndrome ministering in Lourdes.

The Pope Video this month, produced in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is a song to life itself, as well as an appeal to change our way of thinking.

Society and the Church

In our world today, Pope Francis reports, some people with disabilities “suffer rejection, rooted in either ignorance or prejudice, which then marginalizes them.” It is, therefore, time to “change our mentality a little and open ourselves to the abilities and talents of these people who are differently abled, both in society as well as in the life of the Church.”

The Pope then asks civil institutions to support the projects of people with disabilities, by providing “access to education, employment, and places where they can express their creativity” and with initiatives “that promote their inclusion.”

The Church, he says, should not limit itself to eliminating physical barriers, but should also “stop talking about ‘them’ and start talking about ‘us.’” He reiterates to all of us that, “big hearts are needed who want to accompany.”

A deeper way of seeing

Regarding the Holy Father’s video for the month of December, Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, adds:

“The Pope’s invitation to welcome people with disabilities in the life of the Church and society is a huge help toward recognizing the mystery each person is. Jesus was in contact with people who experienced physical, psychological and spiritual fragility. He saw beauty and promise in them. By perceiving the divine mystery in Him, they felt the presence of the One who saves, of the One who is Father.

In a world where productivity seems to be more important than the human person, and beauty is regulated by commercial standards, the Christian community gains a deeper and freer way of seeing in prayer. The Church denies participation in the Word and the Sacraments to no one, but rather shares the right way with every person. Our very often non-inclusive societies need a common and concrete commitment so that, following Jesus’ example, everyone’s dignity might be respected and fraternity might grow.”

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The Pope Video is possible thanks to the generous contributions of many people. You can donate by following this link.

Tags:
Pope FrancisPope Video
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